Me & my... Videojet BX6000

By Jon Severs, Thursday 31 January 2013

Be the first to comment

This trade finisher says the ability to print unique messages and codes on a wide variety of work is a "fantastic" addition to its services

91a1db2ba86ae448c044918823d3cfc4

I fancied being in total charge for a change," concludes Gary Benner, after explaining his journey from finishing manager at Howitt to co-owner at Nottingham trade finishing house SM Finishing. He bought the latter almost nine years ago with two friends, Lee Skinner and Tony Palethorpe, and the company, which had been in danger of coming to an undignified end before Benner and co arrived, is now one of the few remaining trade finishing houses in the area and a very successful one at that.

"We run a tight ship," says Benner. "We are very lean, we have a small dedicated staff and we do a lot of the admin elements of the business ourselves, rather than hiring people to do it, and the 16 staff we do have are very flexible and are willing to work different hours when required."

SM’s work is a mixed bag, says Benner. "We obviously fulfil an overspill service for many people – no matter how much finishing kit a printer puts in, when they are busy they will always print more than they can finish. But we also do a lot of complex work that printers cannot do, as we have highly skilled staff and the right kit."

That kit expanded even further 15 months ago when, travelling in the opposite direction of the hoards of printers bringing finishing in-house, Benner brought a bit of printing in-house in the form of a Videojet BX6000.

"It means we can now apply inkjet onto mailers, which we traditionally just finished," says Benner. "Clients want to have as much done from a single source as possible and the BX6000 means we can meet that demand by personalising mailers, as well as finishing them."

Message centre
The Videojet BX6000 is a high-speed binary-array printing system launched in 2006, but upgraded in 2010 with new software and communications technology to make the machine ethernet-enabled. Jon Unwin, graphic sales manager for Videojet, says the machine is used by trade finishers, printers and mailing houses to put unique messaging onto any job without the need to buy a digital press.

"It’s extremely fast; we have run it at over 10m per second printing unique messages," says Unwin. "It is a spot colour machine, and you can have a twin head system, which we believe is unique for this type of machine, so you can have two colours."

As for substrates, Unwin says you can pretty much put "anything" through the BX6000. "The ink is MEK-based and so no drying is needed as it dries in air within a second. So any substrate can go through it."

The BX has a top speed of 600m/min and a maximum resolution of 128x256dpi. The maximum print height is 51mm.

Benner says that when it comes to inkjet in this context, the choice was only really between Domino and Videojet. It so happened that Benner already had a connection with Videojet, having done some work with the company in the past, and fortunately, he felt its machine was superior.

"They are a really good company and the whole package was right for us," he explains. "The machine is excellent and so our mind was made up."

It was installed in August 2011 and was quickly in operation. Training lasted three days and was completed by three operators. Benner says support continued beyond that, with engineers on the end of the phone. It meant that the machine was producing jobs very quickly.

The BX does not have a static position within the printroom, instead it moves to wherever it is needed – flexibility that is key to the machine’s productivity, says Benner.

"We move it around where we want it – on the back of the stitcher or the folder for example – we mount it where we need it and that flexibility is crucial," he reveals.

It is operated via Videojet’s Crescendo Controller, which Benner says is a simple to navigate operator interface that comes standard with pass code sign-in levels to ensure appropriate access. He explains that the machine is supplied with everything you need on the software side, so "when the data is supplied and loaded into the machine, you can plan it all out on the interface of the BX6000. It is incredibly simple to work."

Speed-wise, Benner says the machine is more than capable of meeting his requirements. SM prints onto around 9,000 mailers per hour, far below the speeds of which the machine is capable. "You are not going to run finishing kit fast enough to ever trouble it," he explains.

The machine was supplied with a service contract and Benner says that 90% of any issues have been solved with a quick phone call. Indeed, reliability has been a big plus, with no serious issues since installation.

In terms of quality, obviously this is not a machine designed to print fine art photographs, but for the job at hand –printing codes and addresses and the like – Benner says it is more than up to the task and that he has had no complaints about the quality of the work being put down.

Indeed, the only concern Benner has had with the machine over the past 12 months is getting the message to customers that SM is offering the service.

"The service has grown, but we have had to really work at it," he explains. "There is not always a single point of contact at most companies, so you have to find your way to the right people to explain what you can offer. And even when we have explained our capabilities, we find a few months down the line that the contact at the client may change and we have to reiterate what we can do. You have to really push the message out to clients."

He adds that when the message does get through, the benefits to the business have been great. Not only is the company adding to its revenue streams, but it is also making itself more indispensable to the client by fulfilling more of their requirements.

Cracking the codes
And those clients have expanded rapidly since the machine was installed. "We are doing a large mailing every month for a large high-street retailer, which includes the printing of a name and address alongside a sequential number," says Benner, "We can also put a barcode onto the mailer. In addition, we have printed codes onto leaflets that are used for online registration of computer games."

The make-up of some of these jobs has gone against the general trend of plummeting run lengths. Benner says increased targeting and personalisation of mailers and other print work has meant run lengths have come down from the millions into the hundreds of thousands or even the tens of thousands. The large high-street customer, though, is a million-plus two-page run, as is another recent mailer. And the Videojet is more than capable of coping with that.

Overall, then, Benner is very pleased with what he terms a "significant" purchase. Adding some print capability has enabled SM to increase its workload and better meet client demands. It might have tempted some to move further into the print side of the business, but Benner has no plans to do so.

"We want to continue what we are doing – to continue promoting our new capability, to push the fact that as a one-stop shop we can save the client money," he explains. "We don’t need to get bigger as a company, we just need to continue providing a top-quality on-time service to our clients. We are doing well enough without taking on more staff or more kit. The BX6000 has been a fantastic addition to our services, but it will be the only addition on the print side for the foreseeable future."


SPECIFICATIONS

Max speed
600m/min
Max resolution 128x256dpi
Max print height 51mm
Substrates Porous paper, aqueous and UV-coated paper, most plastics, certain glass and metals; other
unique surfaces have been tested
Price Around £50,000
Contact
Videojet 0870 240 5542 www.videojet.com


COMPANY PROFILE

Nottingham-based SM Finishing was bought by current owners Gary Benner, Lee Skinner and Tony Palethorpe eight years ago. Since then, the company has grown to become a leading trade finisher dealing with printers, print managers and direct with clients. Its services include high-volume saddle stitching, high-speed tipping- on and attaching, high-speed folding and gluing and high-volume guillotining and trimming. Its kit includes MBO folders and Muller Martini saddlestitchers.

Why it was bought…
Co-owner Gary Benner explains that adding inkjet capability meant SM could give clients a more comprehensive service by having the finishing and the personalisation completed by a single supplier. The choice was between a Domino or Videojet system. Benner opted for the latter as he knew the company and felt the product was "excellent".

How it has performed
Benner says the machine has performed very well, bringing in new clients, expanding work with existing clients and being extremely reliable and flexible. He says the speed has been more than the company requires, while the quality equally meets the firm’s expectations. The machine’s ease of use has also been a bonus, he says.


SPECIFICATIONS

Max speed 600m/min
Max resolution 128x256dpi
Max print height 51mm
Substrates
Porous paper, aqueous and UV-coated paper, most plastics, certain glass and metals; other unique surfaces have been tested
Price
Around £50,000
Contact Videojet 0870 240 5542 www.videojet.com


COMPANY PROFILE

Nottingham-based SM Finishing was bought by current owners Gary Benner, Lee Skinner and Tony Palethorpe eight years ago. Since then, the company has grown to become a leading trade finisher dealing with printers, print managers and direct with clients. Its services include high-volume saddle stitching, high-speed tipping- on and attaching, high-speed folding and gluing and high-volume guillotining and trimming. Its kit includes MBO folders and Muller Martini saddlestitchers.

Why it was bought...
Co-owner Gary Benner explains that adding inkjet capability meant SM could give clients a more comprehensive service by having the finishing and the personalisation completed by a single supplier. The choice was between a Domino or Videojet system. Benner opted for the latter as he knew the company and felt the product was "excellent".

How it has performed…
Benner says the machine has performed very well, bringing in new clients, expanding work with existing clients and being extremely reliable and flexible. He says the speed has been more than the company requires, while the quality equally meets the firm’s expectations. The machine’s ease of use has also been a bonus, he says.

Latest comments